Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a regular short and sharp interview with a live music figure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part or recommend someone for inclusion.
This week's Q&A is with Kasra, founder of London-based drum and bass label Critical Music, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last year. Kasra will play B2B with Randall at brand new festival Shockout at the Bath & West Showground on February 24.
What was your first job in music?
I worked for the Sanctuary Group as an accounts assistant, to be honest I was pretty bad at it but I used it as a foot in the door. At the time the label was a really exciting company to be at. I learnt a lot from being there, mainly on how not to do things.
How long have you been in your current role?
I've been running my label, Critical Music for 15 years now. First as a part time passion project and for the past few years as a full time vocation, still with the passion obviously! I used the experience i had from working at labels such as Sanctuary and Rough Trade as well as management companies like Scott Rodgers Quest and implemented them on a more underground and niche scale. Just because a label supports alternative music scenes doesnt mean you don’t do your business properly.
What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?
The music and the people. Being able to work surrounded by creatives and help them realise their and your own vision for projects is an amazing feeling and one that doesn’t get any less special as time goes on. With the landscape for music changing every week at the moment that feeling has become even more special to be honest.
What is the one thing you would like to change about the business?
Vinyl pressing production lead times. Its somewhat frustrating that as a result of majors jumping on vinyl again our lead times can sometimes be up to 20 weeks for a physical product, especially when it’s a format we have supported since the day we started. That said, maybe the plants would be out of business without those larger orders, all I know is it’s difficult!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To have reached the milestone of being a label for 15 years and feeling like we are just getting started. There have been amazing shows and releases but the thing that binds them all together is Critical and the label, the family of artists and the experience we have shared on the way. Here’s to many more.
What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?
There's been many memorable gigs but one that really stands out is Arcade Fire at Reading Festival the first time they came to the UK, it was half rave half religious experience.